A contagious and rare ailment that infects the intestine in the human body, Whipple’s disease is caused by tropheryma whipplei- a bacterium. It was detected for the first time in 1907 by George Whipple, and the ailment was named after him. The ailment can have serious consequences in some cases, but the good thing is that antibiotic remedies are available for it. There is no preventive solution for the disorder though. The diseases can happen to both kids and adults.
Basics of Whipple’s Disease
It affects an insignificant part of human population. However, in developing nations the prevalence of the ailment is more visible. It can be found more in kids living in regions with below average sanitation facilities. It is found more in men than the fair sex. A lot of things still remain unclear about the ailment. Some carriers of the ailment never show any symptoms, for instance. It does not get transmitted from one person to another directly.
Main symptoms of Whipple’s Disease
The most prominent symptom of this ailment is weight loss. The weight loss takes place as the body fails to absorb nutrients from consumed foods. Other major symptoms are:
- Stomach pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- Graying of skin after sun exposure
- Several types of eye problems, pain
If Whipple’s disease is left untreated, it takes a toll on the CNS and the affected person may exhibit some other symptoms. They are:
- Declining intellectual abilities
In advanced stages, the ailment can affect multiple organs in the human body.
What causes Whipple’s Disease?
The bacterial organism Tropheryma whippeli triggers onset of this ailment in humans. The organism causes severe infection in the small intestine lining. This can thereafter spread to other parts of the body. It eventually causes lesions on intestine wall and as a result the intestine fails to absorb nutrients from the foods you consume.
How Whipple’s Disease is diagnosed
Diagnosis of this ailment is done through the following methods:
- Small bowel biopsy and endoscopy
- Polymerase chain reaction
- Available treatments for Whipple’s Disease
After many years of its discovery, Whipple’s disease was deemed as a primary metabolic disorder which can be fatal in nature.
However, in later years Antibiotic treatment was adopted by the medical community for treatment with great success rates. In general, antibiotics like penicillin, erythromycin, and tetracycline are used to treat this. While antibiotics bring relief to the victims, recurrences are not unheard of. The patients may require a month, to much longer to recover from the infection completely.
Apart from antibiotic treatments, patients of Whipple’s disease may also benefit of intake of special supplements and nutrient enriched foods.
- Patients may benefit from taking Iron rich foods and supplements.
- Foods with calcium and vitamin D may be useful.
- To treat malnourishment, patients should be given protein and mineral rich foods.
- Corticosteroids can be taken to help with inflammation.
- Some patients are also given non-steroidal pain drugs.
Home remedies to treat Whipple’s disease
You can resort to some dietary changes in your bid to augment the antibiotic treatment for this ailment.
- To battle anemia caused by the disorder, you need to increase consumption of iron rich foods like green leafy vegetables, liver, lentils, turkey and eggs.
- To get plenty of nutrients you should increase eating the amount of vegetables and fruits. The fiber present in such fruits may aid the digestion process as well.
- You need to eat plenty of seafood, animal meat and vegetable sources of protein to enhance metabolism.
- There are some foods which can actually aggravate the symptoms of this disorder. You should make it a point to avoid eating such dishes. Examples are greasy and fat laden foods.
- When your body cannot absorb minerals like calcium and magnesium that can directly affect bone density. To evade bones becoming fragile and weak, you need to eat foods replete with these 2 minerals. Examples of such foods are spinach, avocados, mackerel, yogurt, broccoli etc.
- You can also use vitamin supplements to minimize impact of low absorption of nutrients. However, you should start taking such supplements after talking with a doctor.